Frank Theodore “Ted” Levine (born May 29, 1957) is an American actor. He is known for his roles as Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs and Captain Leland Stottlemeyer in the television series Monk.
Levine was born in Bellaire, Ohio, in 1957. He was born to Milton and Charlotte Levine, who were both doctors and members of Physicians for Social Responsibility. In 1975, he enrolled at Marlboro College and then later the University of Chicago, where h e became a fixture in the Chicago theatre scene and joined the Remains Theatre which was co-founded by Gary Cole and William L. Petersen. After his stage experience, Levine began to devote most of his energy during the 1980s toward finding roles in film and television such as a minor part in Charlie’s Angels. He also managed to get a minor role in Rambo: First Blood Part II, as one of the men getting the P.O.W.s off the helicopter.
Levine then scored the role of Jame Gumb (known by the nickname Buffalo Bill), the main antagonist of The Silence of the Lambs (1991), based on the Thomas Harris’s 1988 novel of the same name. In the film and the novel, he is a serial killer who murders overweight women and skins them so he can make a “woman suit” for himself.
The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991, and grossed over $272 million. The film was the third film to win Oscars in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film is considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2011.
After his breakout role in The Silence of the Lambs, there was a period where he was typecast in villainous roles. Levine was able to remedy this by playing more positive characters, such as a member of Al Pacino’s police unit in Heat, astronaut Alan Shepard in the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, and Paul Walker’s police superior Sergeant Tanner in The Fast and the Furious. His résumé also includes an uncredited role as the voice of the sociopathic trucker “Rusty Nail” in 2001’s Joy Ride, and his performance as Detective Sam Nico in the 2003 film Wonderland, based on the gruesome murders in the Hollywood Hills. From 2002 to 2009, he co-starred as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer on USA Network’s series, Monk, starring Tony Shalhoub.
Levine also appeared as a patriarch whose family takes a turn for the worse in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes (2006), the film is one of the better remakes of the last decade. In 2007, he portrayed local Sheriff James Timberlake in The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and appeared in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Most recently, he was cast as the warden of the island prison in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Levine has also provided the voice of the supervillain Sinestro in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.